Building Better Coaches

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Education, Online Exclusives

Pender High School coaches are nationally recognized for earning Level 3 Status through the NFHS Learning Center.

Through a wealth of continuing education and training, the coaches at Pender High School in Burgaw have earned national recognition for their dedication to their students and athletes.

Pender High School in Burgaw is the seventh high school in the nation and the third in North Carolina to earn Level 3 status in the School Honor Roll program initiated by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Jones Senior High School in Trenton and Rocky Mount High School in Rocky Mount are the other North Carolina schools to earn Level 3 status.

In addition, Pender High School, which previously earned Level 1 and Level 2 status, is the third school nationally to earn all three levels of the School Honor Roll program.

The NFHS School Honor Roll is a national recognition program designed to promote professional development for high school coaches by completing specific online education courses through the NFHS Learning Center (

In earning Level 3 status, more than 90 percent of the coaches at Pender High School completed the following required courses in the NFHS Learning Center: Sportsmanship, Strength and Conditioning, Teaching and Modeling Behavior, Engaging Effectively with Parents and Bullying, Hazing and Inappropriate Behaviors.

Previously, the coaches at Pender High School completed the core course Fundamentals of Coaching along with other Level 1 required courses: Concussion in Sports, Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Protecting Students from Abuse. The school earned Level 2 status in the NFHS School Honor Roll as a result of more than 90 percent of its coaches completing courses that pertained specifically to sports they coach, along with First Aid, Health and Safety, Heat Illness Prevention and Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

“We want to congratulate the coaches and administration at Pender High School by becoming the third North Carolina school to earn Level 3 status in the NFHS School Honor Roll program,” says Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS chief executive officer. “This is truly an outstanding accomplishment and a strong indication of the school’s commitment to professional development for its coaches. These courses will be very beneficial for the coaches at Pender High School, and we hope this encourages other schools to follow their example and complete courses in the School Honor Roll.”

Matt Davis, CMAA, athletic director at Pender High School, says he is excited to achieve Level 3 Honor Roll status through the NFHS. “Our coaches have committed themselves to continual growth and professional development to best serve our student-athletes, and it is paying off,” Davis says.

As a physical sign of completing Level 3 certification, Pender High School will receive a large Level 3 display banner for its school gymnasium to commemorate the school’s accomplishments and dedication to professional development and education-based activity programs.

“Earning the NFHS School Honor Roll banner is a symbol that the school and its coaches are committed to providing a great experience for young people, and it’s something that everyone can be proud of within their communities,” says Dan Schuster, NFHS Director of Educational Services.

For more information on the NFHS School Honor Roll and to apply for participation in the program, visit

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Topsail Magazine Contributor